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Food insecurity leads to increases in chronic diseases, which have profound costs for individual health, families, and society. The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) has evolved since its inception in 1939 with the overarching purpose of providing food benefits to those in the most need. This benefit is currently offered to only twelve percent of the United States population, but the research suggests that an increase in the monthly allotment and or expansion of the economic qualifications would benefit health outcomes. Some have proposed that a Universal Basic Income (UBI) would be more effective than targeted food vouchers. This project assesses why a targeted SNAP program could benefit health outcomes as compared to a broad UBI. Drawing on nutritional and medical research, government statistics, professional treatment guidelines, and surveys/interviews with current healthcare professionals, I argue that a refocused and expanded SNAP program could improve health outcomes more than a UBI.



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An Enlarged SNAP vs. a Universal Basic Income: Estimating the Health Impacts